| Fadhil Yunus |
THEY may have lost by some margin in a friendly yesterday but the national hockey team remain undaunted by the challenges that lie ahead.
The team were given a lesson in the 7-1 mauling by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex as they got up to speed for the upcoming Borneo Cup this December.
It was never going to be an easy ride for the national team as the UiTM are champions in the collegiate level and with a number of their players also representing Malaysia in the national setup.
Goals from Mohamad Asraf bin Bahari, Muhammad Akmal bin Mohd Tajuddin, Mohd Syafiq bin Zulzairin and a hat-trick by Faeez bin Ibrahim gave the visitors a resounding victory.
Brunei’s consolation came from Md Morshidi bin Yusup.
National hockey coach Shaiful Azli bin Abdul Rahman said this was the first of many friendly matches in store ahead of the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
“I feel that this is a good start even though our weaknesses were quite obvious.
“To reach the highest level will be very difficult, especially when you look at countries competing in the SEA Games including Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. I feel that the playing standards of the UiTM team is similar to Singapore,” Shaiful Azli said.
The former Malaysian international, however, added that the standards of the Borneo Cup teams such as Sabah and Sarawak are miles apart from UiTM.
“Brunei are capable of beating Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Shaiful Azli, who only joined the team in June, said his immediate goal would be to emulating the national side’s triumph in the 2009 Borneo Cup.
He said that although he received his full squad early last month, the players have only been able to train on a part-time basis..
“We will progress slowly to full-time training before we head for the Borneo Cup this December.
“The majority of this squad will be playing in the SEA Games. But we will also enlist good players if we find any,” Shaiful Azli said, adding that he also had his sights trained on the 2019 SEA Games in Brunei.